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A Spanish Lover [Mass Market Paperback]

4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Someone-probably one of the children; Robert would never have dared-had stuck a poster on the kitchen noticeboard. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars "There is no change without sacrifice." March 18 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lizzie and Frances are nearly identical twins in "A Spanish Lover," by Joanna Trollope. Lizzie and her husband have a business, four children, and a beautiful home. Frances, on the other hand, is unmarried and seems to be drifting along without a sense of direction.
Frances at last decides to step out of her sister's shadow and become her own person. She starts a travel business, which becomes a great success, and she begins an unconventional love affair with a married Spaniard. Meanwhile, Lizzie and Richard suffer serious financial setbacks that threaten their comfortable lifestyle. Lizzie, who has always been self-satisfied and even-tempered, cannot help but be jealous and resentful of her twin's financial and emotional independence.
Joanna Trollope is a contemporary Jane Austen. With a keen eye, she examines how time, economic circumstances, and romantic entanglements can upset the delicate balance of a relationship. She also explores the theme of whether we should try to please our families or ourselves. Trollope shows how making life-altering decisions can involve some serious tradeoffs. As one character in the book aptly states, "There is no change without sacrifice."
The author's writing flows naturally and her language is lyrical and beautifully descriptive. The characters are vividly portrayed and the dialogue is humorous, poignant, and insightful. I highly recommend "A Spanish Lover" for its rich detail and its penetrating look at contemporary family life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So Very English May 21 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Can people really change their innermost selves? In this fabulous Trollope story, the answer is a resounding no, and it echoes from generation to generation.
William and Barbara, staunch, middle-class, and proper, astonish themselves when they conceive twins. Barbara is not at all pleased, somehow embarrassed by this quite excessive show of pregnancy and birth. William, however, is enchanted. Imagine, he thinks, a conservative schoolteacher, nothing to recommend himself, really, and he has begotten twins! It makes him feel very important, and that's a good thing, because when Elizabeth (Lizzie) and Frances finally make their appearance, Barbara is quite disgusted and repelled by the mere thought of any further mothering.
William becomes a house-husband of sorts, and Barbara, in her no-nonsense way, sees to her daughters' non-emotional needs. It works well until the girls are 10 years old, at which time comfortable, boring, predictable Barbara takes off for Marrakesh on a hippie trek (a truly hilarious plot twist). She is gone for some time, during which William begins a discreet love affair with the local artist, Juliet. Nevertheless, when Barbara comes back (not having succeeded in becoming a hippie or even a successful feminist, another hobby horse of hers), William takes her back as a natural course of events. He also keeps Juliet on the side; Barbara knows about this, and things continue, changed, but not really.
Fast forward 25 years. Lizzie, having had a fling at artsy life herself, is married to a fellow student, Rob, and the two have created a very successful art/antiques/crafts boutique. They live in a large, sprawling house, and have four children.
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5.0 out of 5 stars must read again Nov. 16 2001
By margot
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed this book from cover to cover. The characters,who were exceedingly well written, very realistic, and very interesting were very gracefully unfolded. I loved the relationship between the twins and the way the submissive twin (Frances) emerged into the more interesting and daring personality. I also appreciated the way in which she gently extricated herself from her sister (Lizzie) and her family influences to do what she wanted to do. It was very ironic and telling that Lizzie actually felt she possessed Frances in the same way she felt she possessed her own children, husband and business. Lizzie's evolution was also insightfully written, but the real story is with Frances, and deserves the most attention. The elders (father William, mother Barbara and mistress Juliet) were in a muddle from the sixties and seemed to float through life with no real direction or purpose. They stayed together in their mental menage-e-tois to simultaneously torture and comfort one another. Frances falls in love with a married man (Luis, the Spaniard)who is so very different from her culturally, emotionally and mentally, that it seems almost impossible that there could be any real attraction, but they share an intense passion for one another. She wishes to manifest all of her love and passion in the person of a child, which will be the living verification of their relationship. He tells her upfront that if she has a child, their relationship will end. She, thinking as a woman in love always thinks, feels that he will certainly change his mind once she becomes pregnant and he sees the child. Instead, he transfers his emotions from her to the child. She physically uproots herself to live in the hostile environment of a country and culture which is not accepting of outsiders and is very definately male oriented. Read more ›
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